, MOGADISHU, Dec 19 – At least four people were killed and nine wounded on Saturday in a gun attack on a government official in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu that was followed shortly afterwards by a car bombing, police said.
“Four civilians were killed in the explosion and nine others were injured,” police official Mohamed Liban said, adding that the road leading to the presidential palace, on which the attack took place, was crowded at the time of the blast.
Witnesses said gunmen opened fire on a senior government official on a road leading to the presidential palace, injuring him and sparking a gun battle with his security guards.
“There was a drive-by shooting attack… then a car loaded with explosives was detonated after police reinforcements arrived,” another police official, Ahmed Abdiweli, told AFP.
Abdi Mudey, a witness, said he saw “several people who were seriously injured” after the “huge” blast.
There were no immediate claim of responsibility, but Somalia’s Islamist Shebab insurgents have carried out a string of attacks in the capital.
Expelled from Mogadishu in mid-2011, the Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab still hold swathes of the countryside which they use as launching pads for their attacks.
They are fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed government in Mogadishu, which is protected by a 22,000-strong African Union force.